Four years to the day, I just finished my last* lesson

*As you can see by my level, I’m no level 60, but around 10-15 levels ago I decided that I’d go as far as level 50 before retiring from service to the crabigator. Then I saw on WK Stats that the last N2 kanji are taught in level 51, so I just had to stretch as far as that too…

In any case, I thought I’d share my experiences, in lieu of a true level 60 post.

About me: Japanese is the only foreign language I’ve studied to any significant degree. I moved to Japan in Sept 2019 on a scholarship programme, and studied Japanese full-time for one year upon arrival. Since then I’ve been working here, in an all-Japanese office, for just over 2.5 years (though due to the nature of my work there is also a lot of written English). I passed the N2 exam in Dec 2020, and I’m taking the N1 in July of this year.

WK has been the best study tool for Japanese I’ve used. Of course, it’s not enough on its own, but good kanji knowledge is the backbone of good reading comprehension and so it’s really been a cornerstone of my studying. Around level 20 I felt I “broke into” reading Japanese, where I’d be able to broadly grasp signs and advertisements; around level 30 I felt able to read manga and play games so long as I had a dictionary on hand; and around level 50 I finished my first novel (コンビニ人間). I’ve recently started my second (大事なことほど小声でささやく). Sure, some of WK’s example sentences are questionable, and some of the later pneumonics are abstract to the point of ridicule. But it works, and it’s a well known fact that cringe-inducing material is directly proportional to its encouragement value.

Unrelated to WaniKani, the three other major players in my Japanese study have been 1) the “Shadowing: Let’s Speak Japanese!” textbooks, which were vital for giving me daily phrases and confidence in conversations at the beginner/intermediate stage; 2) podcasts - I listened to Nihongo con Teppei for a good year when I was starting out, and I now listen to The Lifestyle Museum every week; and 3) language exchange partners - I cannot stress enough how vital actually using your Japanese is, for both improvement and motivation to study more!

Of course there’s still loads of vocabulary / grammar structures that I don’t know, and while I can hold conversations with friends and colleagues I’d be hard-pressed to call my spoken Japanese “good”. This is the main reason I’m moving away from WK: kanji is no longer my bottleneck, and I want to focus more on natural language study, i.e. immersion and vocabulary building. In prep for the N1 exam I’m using Anki already to crunch vocab, and I’m trying get into a routine of consuming native Japanese media (novels, TV dramas and podcasts) to continue to improve comprehension.

To offer a final cliche, learning Japanese really is a marathon and not a sprint. I have by no means been the most efficient student, as you can see below - but even when I stayed on the same level for a ludicrous amount of time, I did reviews at least every few days. Whenever I’ve tried to blitz anything, my retention has been far lower than low-intensity repetition over a longer period.

Thanks to the WaniKani team for this excellent resource, and thanks to the users - especially Kumirei - for their userscripts that make the whole experience so much more streamlined. And to anyone who needs to hear it - remember, you don’t have to be perfect, you just have to keep going. You can do this!


Congrats on reaching your goal! I’m always super interested in learning from people who have achieved a balanced study plan long term. Thanks for the post, it’s really inspiring!


I’ve been thinking about your post today. I was adamant that I would finish level 60, but according to jpdb, only 5-10 of the words given to me on level 54 are in the top 10k words, and I’m getting a lot of weird words, names, etc. I think your post has convinced me that it’s okay to stop. I’m so close to the end, but I think I’ve already gotten everything I wanted out of WaniKani. I might add words to my Anki to fill in the rest of the jouyou without having to learn super obscure words, or I might just immerse and come across them by chance.

… Anyway. Thanks for the post. See you on the other side of this journey, I guess. :smiley:


You can do those last levels really fast and there still are some interesting Kanji/vocab in the last lessons… I do recommend to push on and get that shiny 60 badge :wink:


you could finish in 21 days if my math serves me right. You’re so close!

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Being able to stop at 52 is as impressive as reaching 60, haha. Many here (me included) suffer from the closure at all costs and I commend you for figuring out what you need (more immersion rather than kanji) and then sticking to that rather than getting to 60 just because it feels like an itch, haha.

I hope that makes sense, in any case, congratz to your achievement! :slight_smile:


@Warrie @WaniTsunami Yeah I know it’s only a few weeks, but I never intended to stick around after level 60 (I’m way more active on the EJLX Discord), and overall it isn’t worth the 21 days of mostly rare and obscure vocabulary. I think at this point it’s more important to immerse.

I was convinced that I was like that until recently. Don’t be surprised if you end up like me and OP!


You’re totally right in that the last 10 or so levels are not so important anymore. But for me it just felt good to ‘complete’ WK. I don’t know this EJLX discord, will check out what that is about :slight_smile:



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Still feeling the 60 itch :innocent:
The plan: All Wanikani lessons done on Labour Day :rofl:
Otherwise I also think I don’t care about learning some prefecture names in the last couple of levels. Not sure about the value.
So in September I plan first to pay a visit to Fujisan and then staying for four weeks in Tokyo. Trying a little bit a immersion. Still hoping to find some unpaid volunteer job in this time. Providing English, German and some basic Japanese. Important tourist stuff already done during earlier visits to Japan.

Congratulations on reaching your goal. No matter what, level 50+ is impressivey especially considering that WK used to have only 50 levels.

I originally had a plan to stop after level 51 due to the reasons you mentioned. Somehow I did keep going though, because I had momentum. In the end, it was a bit tedious, but I don’t necessarily regret it. Yes, some of the Kanji are a bit weird - like, why learn the “meaning” of a Kanji when it appears to be only used in names? But there also some words in those later levels that I’ve seen in native content (“spore”, “brethren” and so on).

But I can totally understand quitting earlier and you might as well learn those important Kanji and words through other means.


Wow, this is incredible! How long has it taken you to get this far in your journey, not just in Wanikani but in general?

Also love the Apollo Justice profile picture ^^ maybe one day I can play an AA game in a different language!

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Congrats @neat_beans san :tada:

Cool username :ok_hand:


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